USOR 100 – Spotlight on Employee Excellence: Merle Stevens

Merle Stevens has worked with Disability Determination Services (DDS) for five years. Merle began her career as a DDS claims examiner and now works as a specialist who helps train new examiners. Merle uses her high level of expertise, compassion and encouragement to develop staff, provide them with support and set-them up for success.

What brought you into the profession?

I love serving the public and came from an out-of-state public assistance agency. Joining DDS has given me the opportunity to continue to serve the public under a new mandate while continuing to provide help to the people who need it.

Where do you get your inspiration to help your clients? 

My agency’s mission and values, along with putting myself in the applicant’s shoes, gives me the inspiration and reminder daily to give it my 110% to make accurate and timely decisions. Reminding myself that these are real people, not numbers, inspires me to ensure I continue to align my agency’s mission and values with mine.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I love the constant challenges and opportunities for learning presented in my casework. Every case and applicant is different, but the goal remains the same: Serving the public, being good stewards of public funds and in turn, being able to help many functionally limited people receive the benefits they deserve. In addition, DDS is an excellent agency to work for, and as a disability claims specialist, I am grateful to be able to pay it forward, so to speak, by training new examiners.